new house, new look

Hello out there! When last I checked in here my kids were three years younger, we had one fewer pet, and we lived in a completely different space. Let’s start again, I’m Jan, mom to four intelligent and gorgeous girls and an angel baby boy. I’ve been a portrait and wedding photographer for the last 10 years and I love all things interiors and DIY.

My girls, photography, and general life keep me busy but with my youngest nearing full-time school status, I’ve been itching to get back into sharing my projects and places over here again.

We moved last December to a new home in the same small California city. We have a little more room to spread out here and a few rooms desperately in need of furnishing and styling! I’ve been sharing my #slowdecorating over on my Instagram account, but I really want to share more than just a photo or two a day.

Here’s what we are working with.

Much more to come!

where did the summer go? {simple back-to-school teacher gift}

My three oldest girls started back to school last week (yes, August 14, crazy, right? No year-round school, either, just the wacky local schedule.), and all three seemed to have a great day. The night before, I was a ball of nerves as I lay in bed trying to sleep.

back to school at impressions by jani

Would they have good teachers? Would they reconnect with old friends? Make new ones? Would I be able to handle sending my third daughter off to kindergarten? Would we get everything done in the morning and be able to take pictures and get to school early enough to find a parking spot and not have to park three blocks away? (And considering that we live just over three blocks away, if not, what’s the point???) Would their teachers like them? Why didn’t I put in a little effort and do a teacher gift this year?

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

See, I’m kinda hit and miss on the whole teacher-gift thing. One year I went all out and made elaborate “back to school teacher survival kit” things complete with cute school supplies and chocolate. One year I sent a bottle of sanitizer for the classroom with a cutesy note about being willing to lend a hand. When my oldest started kindergarten, I wasn’t clued in enough to know about teacher gifts but I did thoughtfully send my five year old into a classroom full of other amped-up five year olds with two boxes of store-bought cupcakes. It was her birthday, after all, but I’m not sure her teacher really appreciated that “gift.” A few years I sent nothing, so what would be the big deal if I sent nothing again this year??? At this point I’m really hoping the teachers at their school don’t compare notes, cuz I can’t go back and do retroactive teacher gifts.

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

But as I tossed and turned and tossed some more (and silently wished yet again that I could fall asleep as easily as my husband, who is snoozing within seconds of his head hitting the pillow), I decided that at least I could do something about the teacher gift.

back to school at impressions by jani

Three jars of jam I purchased from a friend, a little washi tape, some patterned paper scraps, and a pack of pre-made tags from the dollar bin at Tar-jay later, and I have literally the easiest teacher gift ever. And ok, yes, it is a cheesy, way-too-cutesy little note I wrote to go with them, but it (hopefully) gets my point across to my girls’ teachers that I’m willing and ready to help out wherever I can. Bailey, as a fifth grader with her first male teacher, insisted that we should have gotten him a baseball or something instead, but he seemed appreciative of the homemade jam (even if I didn’t make it, ha!).

back to school at impressions by janiDo you do teacher gifts on the first day of school? What are teachers really wanting these days, anyway???


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Where did the week go?

Goodness, it’s Friday again! I had plans to get a whole bunch of posts prepped and ready over last weekend to publish this week while we were away enjoying our spring break, but with games and church and dyeing Easter eggs and packing, it all came to nothing. And next week we have family coming into town, so we shall see if I can get the projects posted I’ve been working on lately.


Baby girls has been crawling and getting into everything lately…I had to laugh this morning when she somehow got herself stuck on the corner of the coffee table! I shared it on Instagram (I’m janimouse over there if you want to follow along!) with the #meanmom then got caught up scrolling through all the other mean mom pics. Some are pretty hilarious if you need a laugh!

Enjoy your Easter weekend! We have an egg hunt with cousins tomorrow then church to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection. This is my favorite season.

it’s Friday!


How’s your week been? We’ve had our ups and downs, with a few sick days thrown in, but it’s the last school day before spring break and we.can’t.wait! We have some fun family things planned for next week that we are all looking forward to.

Our sick days gave us a little time off from our crazy five-days-a-week softball schedule we’re currently in, so we’ve had a bit more time at home enjoying the beautiful springtime, like the blackberry bush that is a riot if blossoms in the photo above. It’s completely taken over one of our raised beds in the garden, but the blackberry jam and pies I’m dreaming of will make up for that lost garden space. We’re really more of a fruit than vegetable family anyway.

I’m off to do a little last minute Easter shopping while the kids are at school and I can keep some secrets, then I’m looking forward to helping out with the second grade class Easter egg hunt! With a nursing baby at home this year, I haven’t been able to be in my girls’ classrooms like I would want to, and I’ve missed it. So this will be the perfect way to ease into our break.

I’ll be back next week with a few quick and easy projects, plus it seems I’m sewing new pillows for virtually every space in the house. Have a great weekend!

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